How to Fix Your Breathing to Improve Your Health

Aug. 14, 2020

James Nestor is a San Francisco-based author and journalist who has written for Scientific American, Outside Magazine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, and more. His latest book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art was released in May 2020 and became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal Top 10 bestseller. In it, he explores the history of how we have lost the ability to breathe properly and why we’re suffering from a long list of maladies as a result. These include snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, autoimmune disease, and allergies.

On this podcast James explains how changing the way you breathe can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical health. He relates how his research led him to understanding and practising ancient breathing methods, even enlisting in a 21-day Stanford University experiment to have his nasal cavities and his mouth taped shut. He also describes a simple and inexpensive breathing technique that can quickly produce significant returns in health and performance. 

Interviewing James this week is my NBT colleague Clay Higgins. Clay is a mountain biker, fourth-generation funeral homeowner, and was a client back in 2014. After transforming his health using ancestral health, Clay is now helping other people do the same. If you come to the front page of our website at you’ll find a button to book a free starter session with Clay. During the session, he'll take a look at your history and share how we'd work with you. If you’re not in the US, don’t worry! Since we always work remotely, we can help you almost anywhere in the world.

Here’s the outline of this interview with James Nestor:

[00:00:20] Book: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor.

[00:01:57] Freediving; Book: Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves, by James Nestor.

[00:03:43] Jayakar V. Nayak, MD, PhD at Stanford.

[00:05:13] Mouth breathing for 10 days.

[00:08:21] Dr. Josh Turkett’s 4-quadrant model.

[00:11:47] Why don't we prioritize how we breathe?

[00:15:05] Video: Josh Turknett - How To Win At Angry Birds: The Ancestral Therapeutic Paradigm - AHS19; Podcast: How to Win at Angry Birds: The Ancestral Paradigm for a Therapeutic Revolution, with Josh Turknett, MD.

[00:16:00] Book: Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, by Dan Heath.

[00:19:08] Effects of breathing on skull shape; Studies: 1. Muñoz, Isabel Chung Leng, and Paola Beltri Orta. "Comparison of cephalometric patterns in mouth breathing and nose breathing children." International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology 78.7 (2014): 1167-1172; 2. Chambi‐Rocha, Annel, Ma Eugenia Cabrera‐Domínguez, and Antonia Domínguez‐Reyes. "Breathing mode influence on craniofacial development and head posture." Jornal de Pediatria (Versão em Português) 94.2 (2018): 123-130 3. Jefferson, Yosh. "Mouth breathing: adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior." Gen Dent 58.1 (2010): 18-25.

[00:21:54] Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome.

[00:23:52] Benefits of nasal breathing.

[00:25:02] Study: Nasal breathing coordinates brain network interactions; Study: Zelano, Christina, et al. "Nasal respiration entrains human limbic oscillations and modulates cognitive function." Journal of Neuroscience 36.49 (2016): 12448-12467.

[00:25:22] High percentage of kids with ADHD are mouth breathers. Study: Bonuck, Karen, et al. "Sleep-disordered breathing in a population-based cohort: behavioral outcomes at 4 and 7 years." Pediatrics 129.4 (2012): e857-e865.

[00:25:02] Mouth breathing associated with emotional problems and ADHD. Study: Susan Shur‐Fen, G. A. U. "Prevalence of sleep problems and their association with inattention/hyperactivity among children aged 6–15 in Taiwan." Journal of Sleep Research 15.4 (2006): 403-414.

[00:26:37] Dr. John Douillard, Dr. Phil Maffetone; MAF method.

[00:31:13] Dr. Steven Park.

[00:31:58] Mouth taping; James recommends 3M Micropore Hypoallergenic Tape.

[00:37:11] Stanford’s Dr. Ann Kearney.

[00:37:43] Video: James Nestor interviewing Dr. Mark Burhenne on mouth taping.

[00:39:03] Studies on James’ website

[00:41:46]; Breath resources; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

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